STL sports chat with Jeff Gordon

STL sports chat with Jeff Gordon

Bring your Blues, Cardinals and STL sports questions, and talk to columnist Jeff Gordon in a live chat beginning at 1 p.m. Friday.

    Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?
    Do you think we can start playing by 7-1-20?
    Without fans, that date could be feasible. I believe we will have to ease back to work in a lot of industries in this country. It could be a year or two before we are back to where we were. In the case of sports, coming back as a TV sport at first could make sense. It could be a while before getting 40,000 people together in one place is a good idea.
    What was with the Cardinals' making those transactions yesterday? Can you explain the timing? Also, what gives on Reyes? After some early misfires, I thought they were getting excited about his progress?
    Those demoted players were on the 40-man roster, so these are just paper transactions that bring some clarity to the Opening Day roster, whenever Opening Day is. As part of the settlement with players, teams were instructed to finish optioning players to the minors ahead of an agree-upon transactions freeze.
    Reyes overcame some early jitters to show promise, but given all the rust that accumulated the past few years it's not surprising to see time targeted for a Memphis start. Cabrera is another pitcher who needs more polish. Starting at Memphis would allow him to pitch in the rotation. But the roster is not cemented, since things could change after the freeze ends and the sport revs up again for three or four weeks of Spring Training II.
  • Jeff: Was the B-ball program subject to NCAA sanctions like the FB program was?
    If so, have we served our term - even though the post season was canceled?
  • Basketball was not included in those sanctions. The basketball team was at the SEC Tournament and ready to play when things got shut down.
    Jeff, barring a miraculous cure or sudden vaccine, it is unimaginable to think owners will reopen their parks or arenas for spectators this summer. Do you believe the players unions of these leagues will support play in front of no crowds and health risk to their players? Best to keep those books, puzzles and movies around for quite some time.
    The players are committed to restarting the industry. I can see a sports world where the athletes are tested and cleared to resume competition. Of course, the testing would have to remain ongoing to keep the competition save. These guys are under constant supervision from trainers and doctors, so I could see the competition resuming.
    So it looks like the owners conceded on service time to get assurances on their bottom line, ie not having to pay salaries if season cancelled. How does the service time agreement impact current contracts? If the season is cancelled, does that mean Carp and Dex have only one more year? Does it mean Arenado has one more year before opt out?
    Contracts remain in place for this season. The players are collecting an advance on their pay and their contract terms will be pro-rated on games played once the sport resumes.
    What if play doesn't return? The contract years are burned. I imagine the players and owners would have to settle on how much more the players would collect if there are no games.
    To flip around your point, Mookie Betts would still be a free agent come November even if he plays zero games for the Dodgers.
    I was slightly surprised Reyes was sent down. Was it to work on his control or was this always the plan?
    After not pitching for a couple of years, Alex Reyes was always going to need time to scrape off rust. But, again, this "demotion" was on paper and just an indicator of the way management was thinking when the industry shut down. If four pitchers come up sore during Spring Training II and Reyes remains razor sharp, then Alex could actually start with the Cardinals when baseball returns.
    Mr. Gordon, I was reading Mr. Goold’s piece on the top 7 Cards prospects and also about the possibility of expanded rosters if and when the season were to start. My question is more about service time starting for players added to the expanded rosters who might not have been added had we not experienced a pandemic. Players like Kodi Whitley, Dylan Carlson, Jake Woodford and maybe Johan Oviedo. Guys that probably wouldn’t have started opening day but you may now need. I’m guessing Whitley, Carlson and Oviedo would need to be added to the 40 man roster, which is already full up. Will MLB need to expand the 40 man roster to say 45 on a temporary basis and if so will the player’s service time start if they are put on the proposed expanded roster? I know at this point its pure speculation but just wanted to know what you thought?
  • Hmmmm . . .  not sure about the need to expand the 40-man roster. The expanded Opening Day roster should come from that group of 40. I can't imagine needing more than 40 guys on the opening roster, so I can see the owners pushing back on that. While guys like Jack Flaherty will get a full season of service time while moving toward arbitration and free agency, I'm not sure about the issue of players starting their arbitration clock. My guess is that would not change, but I have not seen that detail in the agreement summaries.
    Mr. Gordon,

    Thanks for once again hosting this chat. Talking about sports is still important because any little bit of normalcy we can have right now is both wanted and needed!

    I think there is no question the NHL is better now than it has ever been. The baseline talent just to get in the league is much higher than it used to be, I believe. What percentage of players from the 1980s, if magically time traveled to modern time from their peak years, could play in today's NHL? I think about 40%.
    Those time travelers would have to hit the gym add muscle and agility. They would have hit the ice and work on their skating to survive in the current game. Most players from yesteryear, in the condition there were in at the time, would have struggled to keep up. But given the chance to train up to the current standards -- something that could take years for some players -- then they could have fit in. Times have changed. Back in the 1980s, some Blues veterans made fun of defenseman Robert Nordmark for drinking juices and protein shakes. Back then, the boys would practice at Brentwood Ice Rink, then retire to the Train Wreck for beer and burgers. Those days are over!
    Mr. Gordon,

    If the Blues re-sign Petro and he becomes a lifer, do you think #27 goes up to the rafters when he retires? Does the legacy he has in St. Louis, and the chance he has to build more, play into his decision about where to sign?
    I would say yes and yes. We are talking about the captain of the first Cup-winning team. Pietrangelo has already had a long and very good career here. So if he finishes out his career here (and I am betting he will), then his sweater should be retired.
    A shortened season requires more pitchers, which plays to the Cards strength, assuming MLB allows for more to be added to roster. Bring on the doubleheaders!
    We could see doubleheaders with the seven-inning format used in the minors. That is on the table. And, again, I do believe both sides are eager to resume play in some form. So both sides are willing to compromise to make it happen.
    Mizzou assisted the NCAA in investigating the acts of a rogue tutor that helped a few athletes cheat and was rewarded with a postseason ban. The feds have proof that KU paid players, and their response is to claim, without evidence, that it never happened and that the NCAA would get no help from them regarding the case. Bill Self was so concerned about how the NCAA would react, he joked about Kansas being voted the champ since they finished 1st in the polls. What? In pro sports, the league is subservient to the teams. Fans can howl at how Manfred punished the Astros, but there's only so much power the man can wield. In college, what should be a regulating body to ensure everyone plays by the same rules has enormous power to disproportionately punish one school while looking the other way for another. If you're one of the 20 or schools in the country that has the NCAA in its pocket, it's easy to understand why you're okay with the system, but why do the other 320 or schools put up with it? Without the colleges, the NCAA couldn't exist. It makes no sense.
  • My distaste of the NCAA's antics is well-known. Because the NCAA lacks subpoena power, it can't really address the big-time cheating that happens in broad daylight. And, to your point, it doesn't have much appetite for stepping on the money-making programs. I bet we never see anything like the infamous SMU death sentence again. The money is just too big. Business is just too good. So we get lip service and some ludicrous penalties slapped on lesser programs to pay lip service to the "student-athlete" ideal which is, of course, just a ruse.
  • If it does take 12 to 18 months before social distancing can fully stop like some experts are predicting, could the future of the NHL be in some trouble if fans can't return to the stands? The big market teams could probably weather the storm, but Arizona, Carolina, Florida, and some of the other small market teams would likely collapse, no?
  • The economics of the NHL would take a huge hit if sport comes back as a studio sport at first. Players might have the bulk of their contract held in escrow for the first year or two until business resumed to normal.
  • Assuming there is baseball this summer with no fans, how unfortunate the Astros get away with no booing.
  • Yeah, they would not mind the quiet for their road games. But the bad news: The chirping from the other dugout might be heard clear as day on telecasts from an otherwise empty stadium. There could be some high comedy on that front.
  • At what point are Cardinals/MLB going to refund/credit ticket holders for games already paid for? It is clear now at the earliest point no games will be played till the end of May/ sometime in June. Even if games are added in October and during the season and a minimum April's games at this point can be refunded. The Cardinals/MLB are big on taking care of the major and minor league players how about individual fans and businesses who have already paid for games that can use the refunds now?
    I image the refund issue will be worked out once MLB knows if and when the sport will resume with fans -- and what the schedule will look like. Perhaps MLB will settle on a policy before then. Working out a settlement with the players was the first step and that took a couple of weeks of around-the-clock negotiations. The owners did not want to lose a lawsuit from players demanding full pay for the season.
    Now teams have a better idea of what their expenses look like for the next several weeks.
    Mr. Gordon,

    As a follow up to my inane time traveling hockey player question, if Crosby, McDavid, Gino, etc went back to the 1980s, do you think they would put up 150-200 point seasons like Mario and Wayne? Are they as good as those guys?
    If Connor McDavid traveled back to 1983 and went on the attack against that era's defensemen and goaltenders in that era's condition, he might score 300 points. 
    Why can't he score 200 points today? Defensemen are bigger, faster, stronger and more agile. So are goaltenders. So are checking line forwards. And today's coaches know how to use those superior athletes to close down the ice.
    So it's different from the NBA. In basketball, the superior athletes can play great on-ball defense and protect the rim. But these days 6-foot-10 players can attack the basket with either hand or, failing that, hit a step-back jumper from 25 feet for three points. 
    D Jacobs at SLU was suspended for the final two BB games. I had not seen anything that indicated he would or would not be allowed to play in the A-10 tourney. Since that was cancelled, got no answer. Do you know what his standing is going forward - still on the team, suspended, leaving the team? Thanks
    I have not seen anything on him. At the time, Travis Ford said he would be back. And to my knowledge he has not landed in the transfer portal.
    I thought I read/heard somewhere XFL contracts included something about players not being able to jump to NFL. Have you seen anything like that or have any knowledge of that type of clause? It would seem if good XFL players are jumping ship to compete for back up NFL jobs, that may be trouble for XFL.
  • There are no such restrictions. The Chiefs recently signed Battlehawks quarterback Jordan Ta'amu to compete for the back-up job this season.
  • I have a bold claim for you. If the NBA was still in St. Louis, Bob Pettit would be as revered in St. Louis as Stan Musial. Thoughts?
    Uh, no. Stan is the Man. Period. If the NBA never left, I sincerely doubt it would be a bigger deal than baseball here. Remember, the NBA didn't really take off until the late 1980s. I covered the sport in the early 1980s (I'm old) and it was a distant third behind baseball and football across the country.
    Mr. Gordon,
    I assume you grew up as a sports fan? Since your career is working in sports professionally, has that changed how you look at it (i.e. did it "ruin" being a fan for you)?
    It certainly does change things. I was a gigantic sports fan as a kid. I used to listen to Pistons games on the radio and chart statistics. How sick is that? I loved Strat-o-Matic baseball. Getting to go to few live games a year was a big thrill. So while I still enjoy watching games and feeling the energy of big events, obviously it's not the same as just being an uninhibited fan. Do I miss those old days? Some days, sure.
    No doubt DeWitt had an impact on the negotiations w the union. Does he have as much influence as the owners of big market teams?
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